Ireland  may not have bounced back with aplomb in their victory over Scotland this afternoon but they grabbed the all important win which was crucial after last week’s defeat.

Jacob Stockdale did what he does best and scored Ireland’s second try while Conor Murray and Keith Earls scored the other two.

Scotland were the better side in the first half and deserved to lead at the break instead of being two points down, testament to the fact that Ireland only spent 15 seconds in the Scottish 22. Greig Laidlaw opened the scoring for the hosts with an early penalty before Murray scored Ireland’s first try. Tommy Seymour made a mess of a Stockdale kick through and his offload was missed by Sean Maitland, allowing the Munsterman to pick the ball up and dot down.

Stockdale doubled Ireland’s try count seven minutes later with a lovely move in the centre of the pitch. The shape of Peter O’Mahony’s body suggested he was going to carry but instead pulled it back to Johnny Sexton on a reverse line. Isolating a front row forward Sexton fed Stockdale close to the ruck. The Ulsterman pinned the ears back and raced to the line. It was move straight out of the Ulster 2012/12 playbook that worked so well with Andrew Trimble on the wing.

Scotland hit back through Sam Johnston. Finn Russell, who was very good in the opening half. He picked a Joey Carbery pass and while he didn’t have the gas to reach the line, good awareness and support from Johnson allowed the outhalf to offload for the inside centre.

Keith Earls extended Ireland’s lead after the break. Joey Carbery broke a tackle and perfectly weighted a ball out to the winger who finished.

On the whole, the second half was fairly disappointing but credit must go to Ireland’s defence who strangled the life out of Finn Russell and therefore neutralized any Scottish potency in attack. Similar to last year, Ireland showed that if you can put Russell off his game, Scotland are beatable. Greig Laidlaw and Joey Carbery traded penalties in the only other scores in the half.

Fifteen unforced errors ensured that the Scots failed to create any momentum in the second half. Ireland controlled the possession and territory ensuring they left Murrayfield with a victory built on defence. It wasn’t the finest performance but I’d say Ireland deserved the win.

There’s a break next weekend before a trip to Italy the weekend after in round three.

6.5 Performance

Joey Carbery had a good game despite a shaky start having replaced Johnny Sexton midway through the first half. The out half showed some good touches and looked to change Ireland’s style of play.
Rob Kearney was a welcome returnee to the side. Barring a suspect tackle on Tommy Seymour, his positioning was very good and as always, was a safe pair of hands under the ball. He made 91 metres off 13 carries with three linebreaks and five defenders beaten.
Jacob was the pick of the Ulster boys and took his try very well. He also pulled off a try saving tackle on Seymour at the end of the first half, not bad for a “terrible defender”. Stockdale made 59m off just four runs and defeated six defenders.
Best was busy about the pitch while Cooney received his customary three minutes at the end of the match.

  • Cian Healy 6
  • Rory Best 6
  • Tadhg Furlong 7
  • James Ryan 7
  • Quinn Roux 6
  • Peter O'Mahony 7
  • Sean O'Brien 6
  • Jack Conan 5
  • Conor Murray 7
  • Johnny Sexton 6
  • Jacob Stockdale 8
  • Bundee Aki 7
  • Chris Farrell 6
  • Keith Earls 7
  • Rob Kearney 8
  • Sean Cronin N/A
  • Dave Kilcoyne 6
  • Andrew Porter 6
  • Ultan Dillane 7
  • Josh vd Flier 6
  • John Cooney N/A
  • Joey Carbery 7
  • Jordan Larmour N/A
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